There comes a point in every relationship when the butterflies fly away and the spark feels more like a sputter and we eventually ask ourselves—is my relationship working? We wonder if this person who once made our cheeks hurt from laughing is really making us happy. Sure, there are always the little irritations that come with coupling—dirty underwear near the hamper but never in the hamper and used coffee cups multiplying on the bathroom counter. But after you bonk your head yet again on the cabinet door they always forget to close, even the little things can make you start to wonder if your relationship is all that it could be.
Sometimes it’s easy to tell. We’ve all been in those zingy relationships where for a stretch of time all that matters is the sex and the canoodling. And then, one day, when their scent doesn’t make us euphoric anymore, we know the relationship is caput because there’s nothing else keeping it together.
But what about when the relationship is well-aged, a bit wrinkled, and its landscape is equally dotted with happy memories and unspoken doubts?
Then, how do you know if your relationship is working? This is when we need to dig deep and ask ourselves the important questions. Such as…
Do you feel connected to your partner?
Another way to look at it is, do you feel intimate with them other than sexually? Does your relationship feel warm and alive even when you and your partner are overwhelmed with jobs, kids, parents, and outside obligations or is it just chugging along on autopilot? Do you crave their snuggle and their smile as much as crave your morning coffee? If so, your relationship is probably working.
Are you connected even when you aren’t together?
Another sure sign of your relationship working is that you feel connected to your partner even when you aren’t together.
This is a huge one and here’s why: When you feel safe and loved in a relationship, you can go out into the world and use your emotional and mental bandwidth to be who you’re meant to be. You can use your energy to dream, succeed, and pursue your deepest passions. You aren’t worried and confused, wondering if your significant other loves you or not. Instead, you’re self-assured and focused on your worldly goals knowing you are loved and supported.
Do you make each other laugh?
And one more sign that you know your relationship is working—do you laugh with each other? When you’re together, do you feel light and happy more than you feel dark and heavy? Even in the worst of times if you can find laughter and levity with your significant other, then your relationship is likely in a warm, cozy place.
So what if we don’t feel connected? How do we get our relationship working again?
Life will happen at warp speed if we let it, so do your best to slow it down. When you’re rushing by each other in the kitchen or sleepily stumbling by each other in the hallway, stop and make time stand still, even if only for a few seconds. Squeeze your lover’s hand or kiss the tip of their nose. Make them feel not only seen but adored and appreciated.
Make eye contact
When you feel disconnected, chances are you aren’t tuning into your partner physically, emotionally, or spiritually. A great way to revive that connection is to make purposeful eye contact. Sometimes, I’ll ask my husband to sit on the sofa with me. We’ll face one another and hold hands. We won’t say a word, we’ll just look into each other’s eyes for two or three minutes. It’s a wonderful exercise because in the beginning it may feel awkward and you’ll giggle through the unease (an added bonus!) and then with some patience you’ll find that click of connection once again.
Have meaningful, heartfelt conversations
If you’re feeling distant from your significant other, having a heartfelt conversation can bridge the distance. Share something that you’re afraid of, something that’s making your heart hurt. And sometimes, it’s better if your heartfelt share isn’t about your relationship. Make it about where you stand as a human, a parent, or as a child of the Universe. Being vulnerable with your significant other is a powerful way to blow the dust off of a dormant love line.
And if your partner shares their vulnerability with you, listen with all you’ve got—make certain they feel heard. Empathizing with their unease is a sure way to revive a lost connection.
Lastly, be sure to have compassion—for yourself, your partner, and your relationship. Don’t compare your relationship to those around you or others you’ve had before. The love you share with your partner is unique and special in its own right. Honor it as such. It’s also important to remember that no relationship can fire on all cylinders all the time.
It’s the energy and the love we expend reconnecting with our significant others that will ensure that they remain our lover and friend for as long as the Universe allows.
With resilience, grace, and love,